It might be fun, for a change, to share a painting in progress. I chose to paint these irises because I am in love with the light captured in the photo and purple is one of my favorite colors to work with. I had spent a few hours the day the photo was taken enjoying all of the flowers in my country garden. The fresh air, warm sunshine and the peace and quiet on that late spring day was quite lovely. This is a nice way to remember a magical moment.
A Few Technical Details
The canvas was sanded, prepared with 2 layers of GAC 100 before hand. It was then coated with a thin layer of quinacridone magenta mixed with gloss glazing medium. After allowing it to dry for a few hours, I drew the shapes on the canvas fairly accurately with a watercolor pencil. This worked well because corrections can be made easily with a moistened cloth. At the ArtWalk event, I began to block in the background so that I could view the overall design more easily.
This is one of the easy stages and the image progresses quite quickly. After this initial block-in, I began to focus on creating some of the background colors and shapes. Later, I tackled blocking in some of the highlights and shadows in the flowers themselves. It was also helpful to introduce some of the more intense purple color to help me compare the strength of the other colors.
The quality of the iris painting in progress still appears pretty rough to me and will need several more layers. It does look like it’s coming together quite nicely already. The most fun will be refining all of the details, especially the subtleties of color that will make these irises interesting to look at. Deciding which areas of the image to emphasize and which to push back is part of my thought process.
Having had very little painting time this summer and fall means that it takes a bit more energy to focus on the intricacies of this iris painting. Sometimes the details in the grey tones and the stripes on the petals took more concentration than they would had I painted more often. Stay tuned as more photos are posted during the journey to completion.
The Home Stretch
Since the weather has become wintry and a few other tasks in the house and office have been taken care of, I feel there is more room and energy available for me to re- focus on this painting in progress. It seems to take a while to switch gears sometimes and re-arrange my routine to paint more during the day instead of just after supper. Making the refinements at this stage is pretty satisfying. The next question is what should be done with the background?
Painting in Progress Nearly Complete
There was a lot of back and forth as I worked on the background. Adding shapes, then taking them out; rearranging shapes and colors, pushing them back again. The stripes on the purple petals took a bit more concentration in order to get the patterns right and were so much fun to paint! These hues are achieved not through mixing paint colors, but by a careful layering process. At this stage, it feels as though the painting is complete or very near. I will let it rest for a few days, maybe turn it to the wall and re-examine it later to see if anything needs to be adjusted.